Conquering Makiling

I am not a professional climber, nor a fan of hiking mountains. It was only through hasty planning that the two of us (Sandra and I) decided to hike Makiling. Abrupt as it may seem, this experience proved to be one of the best I had in my life. Until now, whenever I take a look at Mount Makiling, I cannot bear to imagine how the two of us conquered the mountain without even preparing ourselves prior to the hike. And so, the story goes…

Registration area for the hikers.

We were early when we reached the registration area. The people manning the entrance are all friendly, and they will certainly give you some tips on hiking mount makiling. What to do, what not to do, and more.They told us that following our guide is of utmost importance during the hike, and that neglecting his instructions could lead to an accident. Being a beginner in this field, I absorbed all the tips they gave me, and did my best to remember it throughout the hike. After about 15 minutes of chatting,  the guide arrived.

Edmund in front, followed by Sandra, then me.

The man leading the way is our guide. His name is Edmund. Young as he may seem (he’s just 18), he is already a veteran when it comes to climbing Mount Makiling.

The view of the mountain up close.

As we went  closer to the mountain, the road becomes Narrower, allowing thick vegetation to take over.

The “before trail”
The “after trail”

The mount makiling trail has a total of 30 stations. Each station is indefinitely spaced from the other. Meaning, the distance from one station to the other varies. The normal hiking time according to Edmund is around 4 to 5 hours in order to reach the summit. We reached station 1 after a half an hour of walking.

At some point after station 1, we encountered a truly refreshing stream of mountain water. The cold, gushing water of the stream encouraged us to dive right in. We resisted the tempting offer for now. We had to continue with the hike if we wanted to finish it within 4 hours.

The trail is extra slippery when raining. Be very careful!
Rappelling for the first time!

Hiking the mountain is no easy task. There are a number of obstacles that would certainly stretch out your muscles. There is even a part in the hike that you would do a little bit of rappelling. The slope is not that steep though, but it would definitely give you that feel of adventure.

Slowly, but surely.

One thing memorable about the makiling hike: LEECHES. It’s everywhere. After station number one, watch out for those slimy creatures. They will literally suck the life out of you. A good spray of alcohol over its body will do the trick and force it to detach from your skin. Be sure to check your body for leeches every 5 minutes or so.

The photo is blurred since Sandra is dying to get the leech off her pants. I’m not used to these creatures either.

After a couple of hour’s worth of hiking, we finally reached a good spot for taking pictures. It’s a real compensation from all the hiking we’ve been doing.

To the summit, we go!
A nice view of the mountain near the summit.

We were only a couple of stations away from the summit when the weather suddenly became gloomy. Rain started to pour down, and the wind became more violent. Cautious about the rapidly changing weather, we consulted our guide whether or not we should continue the hike. He told us that continuing the hike at the occuring circumstances would be dangerous. It would be wiser to turn back for now. We followed him and made no arguments. It may be disappointing, but I cannot risk our lives. There are many more chances to come back afterall.

Rain clouds taking over.
Thick fog started to engulf the mountain, accompanied by strong gusts of wind.

To make up for the almost-reaching-the-summit experience, we were more than glad to spend the rest of the afternoon at the stream of water near station number 1. There, we ate our packed lunch as well. The best part? The stream is fresh, cold, and drinkable. We invited Edmund to join us but he refused. He probably took a bath at this stream a hundred times.

The drink-all-you-can stream!
Fresh, cold, mountain water.

Some tips for those planning to hike in Makiling:

-Make sure to wear long sleeves and pants, the leeches will definitely make a meal out of you otherwise.

-Keep a bottle of alcohol ready, or an atomizer for that matter. Again, for the slimy critters.

-Wear cotton gloves if possible to make gripping branches and bladed grasses an easy task.

-Plug those ears! Edmund told us that there are  cases wherein leeches entered a hiker’s ear. Hearing the story is scary enough, what more if it happened to you.

Expenses of Makiling hike:

– 500 pesos (about 10$) for the guide payment (guide is mandatory by the way).

-Additional tip for the guide is optional (make sure to give him a tip, though. Accompanying hikers and making sure they’re safe and sound is difficult.)

-140 pesos (1.41$) bus fare for the two of us. This may vary depending on your location.

How to get there?

Want to go to Makiling? Check it out here.

Not all trips are expected to turn out the way you imagined them to be. Still, a bad day of an adventure is definitely better than a good day at work (for me at least). Plan things out, but always have an alternative if things go the other way around. Only then you will realize that each adventure is truly remarkable, whether it be a good or a bad one. Happy traveling guys!!

-Carlo, WHT

 

Comments

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  1. 🌺 Smile 🌺

    Hey pls visit Pagsanjan and contact Ms Kelly in Tourist dept and go to the water falls. You are just near by …. dont miss it. Ms Kelly is the one sent you above first comment. Khelzz. Cheers

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      Carlo Tuzon

      Actually, I planned to go there when I went to Sta Cruz. Tough luck though, I did not have enough time to visit the place. Don’t worry, I’ll surely check out the falls one of these days. Maybe I’ll stumble upon Ms. Kelly as well. Thanks for your tips by the way, I really appreciate it. 🙂 CHEERS!!

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          Carlo Tuzon

          Still, I’m sure it’s a spot worth visiting. There are many beautiful places in the Philippines, including Pagsanjan of course. Thanks for stopping by! And for the tips! Happy traveling to you too, my friend!

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  2. ejsna

    This brings memory of being there during the World Jamboree of girl/boy scouts sometime in the 70’s. It was a great time but we may have been on another side of the mountain cause we never saw leeches!

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      Carlo Tuzon

      You probably started the hike at the side of UPLB. Nevertheless, I’m sure you also had a blast climbing up this mountain. Thanks for stopping by!! More power to your blog also! Happy traveling ejsna! 🙂

  3. pinoytransplant

    Nice photos. We climbed Mount Makiling during my high school days as part of our survival camping in the ROTC. Fatigue uniform, combat boots and all! I was hoping to see the “diwata ni Maria Makiling,” but was disappointed. 🙂

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      Carlo Tuzon

      I feel you Hahaha. Climbing the mountain is one thing, and to climb it while wearing a complete set of military uniform is another. I salute you! Thanks for stopping by! Happy traveling mate!

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      Carlo Tuzon

      Hi Antoinette! I’m glad to know that you find this place awesome! Please do refer this to your daughter, I’m sure she will have a blast. Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂

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      Carlo Tuzon

      Thank you for the encouraging comment! I’m sure you’ll love hiking this mountain. Just remember to watch out for those leeches, though! Hahahaha. Happy traveling to you! 😊

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      Carlo Tuzon

      Just make sure to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to ward off the slimy critters! I’ve learned this the hard way. Believe me, the feeling once the leech is on your skin is not a very pleasant experience. 😅 Thanks for stopping by Kayla! Happy Traveling!!

  4. dfolstad58

    Excellent post, using the narrative style accompanied by pictures worked very well. Too bad the picture of the leech was blurry but I can understand she wanted it off right away. Leeches suck! (pun intended)

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      Carlo Tuzon

      AHAHAHAHA NICE ONE! 😂 Well, I would have done the same thing and blasted the slimy leech right away if it happened to me. Taking a picture of the critter while it sucks off my lifeforce would be the last thing to reach my mind if it comes to that moment. 😂 Thank you for the nice comments, and for visiting my site. More power to your blog too!!😊

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        Carlo Tuzon

        I’m glad you liked it! 🙂 It was really an unforgettable experience for the two of us. I’ll write more travel experiences for you to enjoy reading in the future. Thank you!!

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